Finola will be based in London and lead the global team responsible for communications, brand and commercial marketing, corporate social responsibility, brand events and brand partnerships across the FT Group.
Reporting to FT Group CEO John Ridding, McDonnell will also join the FT Executive Board, which oversees the company’s global strategy and performance.
McDonnell replaces Darcy Keller, who after five years in the role and eleven years at the FT, will be departing the company in April to return to her hometown of Austin, Texas, where she and her family have decided to relocate.
McDonnell joins the FT from CNBC International where she is currently Vice President of Communications and Marketing. Before CNBC, McDonnell was Director of Communications at Business Europe, the largest business lobby group in Brussels, where she led all campaign work directed at the EU institutions. Prior to that, she was Head of Public Affairs with the Irish Business & Employers’ Confederation, IBEC, for several years and the early part of her career was spent as a political and communications strategist both in her native Ireland and in Europe.
FT chief executive, John Ridding, said: “I am very pleased that Finola will be joining the FT, after a competitive recruitment process. She brings with her a wealth of experience in the media and business worlds and is perfectly placed to lead the FT’s award-winning communications and marketing team as we navigate the next phase of disruption in the news industry.
John Ridding continued: “I also want to thank Darcy for her many contributions to the FT over the years. She has been a wonderful, generous and supportive colleague, a talented leader and strategic advisor, and totally tireless in her commitment to the cause. She hasn’t just protected and projected the FT brand, she has driven and lived it. And she hasn’t just shaped the story, she has helped shape the company.”